Tribute to the Poet of Grayscale

As a final look at Yosemite National Park, no blog series would be complete without a tribute to one of it’s biggest advocates and most famous of residents, Ansel Adams.  Of course, you know I have to do it, right? The tonality of the sheer granite cliffs is begging for it. The shadows and light demand it. Any self-respecting photography enthusiast has to do it…so forgive me, Ansel, while I play momentarily with your muse of monochrome… Continue reading

Halfway to Half Dome

Regardless of whether you are a bucket list believer or a bucket list basher, everyone has a secret mental list of “things I wish I could do one day.” If you don’t, then you are not a dreamer. And if you are not a dreamer then you may as well be dead. But that’s just my opinion.

I confess to maintaining two bucket lists….those I think I can actually achieve, like Zion’s Angels Landing, or visiting all 59 of our National Parks. And then there is that “secret list” of things I wish I could do but Continue reading

I’ve Looked at Crowds from Both Sides Now

Yosemite National Park sees four million visitors each year. It ranks in the upper half of our Top 10 most visited national parks. “No temple made with human hands can compete with Yosemite,” wrote John Muir, early conservationist who influenced the creation of many of California’s parks.

As I mentioned in the previous post, coveted campsites within Yosemite Valley sell out four months ahead within minutes of inventory being opened up. Continue reading

Winning the Yosemite Lotto

Roll the tape back to the night before I am to depart on the 9:00am ferry for the Channel Islands camping trip. I have just learned that what I thought was a simple gray water leak turned out to be my entire hitch and holding tanks hanging by a single bolt. I am pacing the floor trying to make a decision over whether to continue on with my last minute packing required to cover every conceivable need for the next three days, or bag the Channel Islands camping trip and stay behind to face my problem. I am having an anxiety attack. Literally. I cannot breathe. I am in the middle of a mini-breakdown when a “ping” comes in from Facebook Messenger. Continue reading

One More for the Road…

Once back in Ventura, the repairs at Barker RV go more smoothly than I have anticipated.   The new “beefier” frame rail extensions have arrived from Winnebago Industries in Forest City, Iowa, and it takes just four hours of labor to make the switch.  They are shorter than I would have thought, at around four feet long.    Justin, the Manager of Service invites me out to view the Winnie’s “belly work” while she’s up on the rack.    Once again, I marvel at the consequences averted, as the hitch pulling the Tracker, along with the holding tanks had been riding on one bolt.  The remaining bolts were still attached to the strips of sheered metal. Continue reading

Monterey to Morro Bay

I get word from Barber RV back in Ventura that my parts are due to arrive on Tuesday, and I have an appointment to go “up on the rack” first thing Wednesday morning. So I decide to break camp at San Simeon continuing north with the intent to make Monterey my turn around point for my long weekend getaway. I have no reservations for Saturday night, but figure I can always come inland a few miles and book some “highway hotel.” Continue reading

La Cuesta Encantada, the Enchanted Hill

Yet another reason for my road trip, I had booked space in San Simeon State Park far in advance to be guaranteed of a place to park for Memorial Day Weekend.  Had I cancelled that space due to the Winnie repairs, I would have lost both booking fees and cancellation penalties, consuming the majority of the refund.   Since the reservation was for the “primitive” campground (Washburn, dry camping on the grass with no hook-ups,) I figured I could get by with pitching my tent there. Continue reading

Going Coastal

So, things have been moving slowly here in Santa Paula, California, Lemon Capital of the World.  But at least they are moving.   My new frame rail extensions have been ordered from the Winnebago factory in Forest City, Iowa. Once they arrive, the local Winnebago dealer in nearby Ventura, Barber RV, will be doing the repairs.   Many said “just have it welded,” but Continue reading

Channel Islands National Park, Part 2…The Hiking

The Channel Islands National Park is one of our least visited parks in the National Park system.   Ranger Erin at the beautiful Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center in Ventura Harbor tells me that of all the visitors that come to the center, only 10% actually travel by boat to set foot on the islands, as one need go no further than the mainland Visitor Center to get their National Parks Passport Stamp.  Of  those 10% who do take the boat trip, only a lesser percentage Continue reading